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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I could understand Senator Pratten 's amendment if he desired that a sentence of death for murder should not be carried into effect until confirmed by the Governor-General, because murder would be held to be a civil offence. But the other offences, such as desertion to the enemy, traitorously delivering up to the enemy any garrison, forts, posts, &c, would be purely military offences. The honorable senator has approved of sentences of death in the case of murder without confirmation by the Governor-General, but now he wants sentences of death for those other purely military offences to be confirmed by the Governor-General before being carried into effect. ' I venture to say there is more necessity for such sentences to be carried out promptly, as an example to the troops and for the restoration of confidence. If troops knew that a . number of their comrades had been sacrificed by a traitor who had not been adequately and immediately punished, but who was being sent to Australia in order that his case might be reviewed by the GovernorGeneral, I venture to say that it would not have a very good effect upon the remainder of the men..

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